From the name, you would assume that Hakka Wok is your typical Chinese food but it's not. Hakka Wok is Indo-Chinese cuisine which can be best described as Chinese (Cantonese/Szechuan) cooking techniques paired with Indian herbs and spices.
These dishes are spicy - no joke. The little red icons next to 90% of the items on the menu aren't decorations. Those are actually to signify between spicy and fireball hadouken out of your @#$ spicy.
I would recommend the cumin beef - it's the perfect blend of earthy, savory, salty, and a little spicy. For an appetizer, try the baby corn bhazzia. It's baby corn that's been seasoned with spices and then dipped in batter and fried. It's served with a spicy sweet and sour sauce made from lime juice. For a bold spicy dragon punch in your face dish, try the chicken 65. It's fried chunks of chicken tossed in cumin, garlic, onion, and chilies. It has a rating of two chilies so be careful. The one downside is that the food portions are smaller for the price you pay - most dishes are in the $10-15 range.
If you like bold spicy food and are looking for something new, then Hakka Wok is worth trying. Just don't come here expecting pad Thai or orange chicken. Otherwise, you'll miss the point of enjoying Indo-Chinese cuisine.
Crave amazing dumplings? You've heard of xiao long bao (aka XLB or Shanghai soup dumplings), right? Well, these aren't soup dumplings but rather juicy dumplings. Qing Xiang Yuan delivers divine dumplings in a secret location that is literally off the map - the food court of Chinatown which I never knew existed until recently.
Like many carts/merchants in Asia, Qing Xiang Yuan specializes in one thing and does it very well. These dumplings are full of juice from the fat that melts from the filling as they are cooked. They have more juice/soup inside of them than other places that were supposedly xiao long bao. One bite, you'll immediately notice that each one is freshly handmade since everything is made to order and the filling is packed with meat juices. It's like the Gushers Fruit Snack from the 90's for northern Chinese dumplings. These delicate and flavorful little pillows are heavenly.
The great thing about Qing Xiang Yuan is that there is no secret menu, you don't have to order in Chinese, the food is consistent, and each order is pretty large. The real secret is the location. Just go down the alley, take a left, down the stairs, and it's the third or fourth vendor.
I don't know what Qing Xiang Yuan means but my guess is that it literally translates to Heavenly Meat Juice Gushers Dumplings.
The wifey hit some curbs and the paint on my car's front bumper was scratched pretty bad on the corners. "Uh oh, better get Maaco."
I could have gone with several other independent body shops but I intentionally chose Maaco since they are located nationwide, certified, and the warranty on all services. Being a nationwide provider and having a warranty are worth the extra cost in my book. It turned out that the price wasn't too much more than other places. The manager helped with the initial quote and worked with getting to a price that was within my budget. It was only $400 for the lower bumper and front grill which is not bad at all.
It took two days to service my vehicle and the results were great. The paint job matched the original color and you could barely notice the deep scratches from before. There were no drip marks and the front bumper looked brand new. With a five year warranty, this was a great deal and definitely worth the money. Check out the photos that I uploaded of my car before and after the paint job. The one thing that would have made it a five star experience is if they washed my car and cleaned the inside. There was just some leftover powder on the floor mats but not a big deal at all.
Thank you to Maaco in Palatine for being reliable and doing honest quality work.
It seems that people in North Oakland don't wake up early for breakfast or brunch. Even dim sum seems to open later on the west coast. That works in the favor for the Iron Pan since nothing else in the area was open on Saturday morning at 9am.
Like many smaller dine ins in San Francisco, you get quality meals with quality ingredients here at the Iron Pan. The menu at has a range from breakfast and brunch classics to dinner entrees. We went with the eggs benedict with brisket, Mexican chicken salad, bacon and pancakes, bagels with lox, and waffles. The food portions are large and the prices are completely reasonable - the salad in particular was massive. Our food came out quickly and everything was cooked well.
The cashier didn't have the best customer service skills but we still had a great experience. For the location, price, and quality of the food, we'll keep this place for more future brunch dates.
Typically, sports bars are known for their big screen TVs, attractive wait staff, and beer selection where often times the environment is the highlight and the food comes secondary. At Westwood Tavern in Schaumburg, you get all of that but the food is much better than what you would expect from a sports bar.
The great thing about Westwood Tavern is the variety in food options. They have taken bar food staples and kicked it up a notch. You can get your nachos, burgers, tacos, and flatbreads to accompany your beer but you can also get sushi rolls and sashimi if you bar food isn't your thing. The foot long grilled cheese caught my eye - it's twist on grilled cheese and tomato soup by adding braised short rib beef with smoked gouda grilled mushrooms. I decided on giving my cholesterol a break and chose the grilled salmon and green beans instead which was delicious and the healthier choice.
The venue is great for groups whether you are with a rowdy crowd to watch the game or to enjoy a nice dinner with the family. There is enough space where you can be surrounded by screens to watch several games at a time or prefer a quieter setting away from the crowds. Service was excellent and the prices are reasonable with food portions larger than expected.
If evil elves ruled the world, they would have designed and operated Spirit Airlines.
Spirit Airlines is great if you are under 5 feet, weigh less than 100 pounds, and don't carry any luggage with you. The low price is attractive but they will nickel and dime you for everything and pack you into the plane like sardines. Evil elves seemed to have built the planes and have taken over their staff. Don't even bother with their customer service because it's even worse.
Since they charge you $45 for a carry on per flight, you'll end up paying the same price for a major airline. Don't give the evil elves your money!
As a child, Lego grew your imagination with endless creativity in the form of blocks and then as an adult, you grew up with control issues and being a perfectionist. If you can relate to this, then you'll love Legoland and will be delighted that your child is following in your path as they start the obsession over blocks.
Legoland is a combination of a museum, amusement park, and play area for kids. Even if your child doesn't play with Lego, there are a variety of exhibits to enjoy which all come with admission from a shooting gallery, 3-D movie theater, indoor gymboree, and plenty of stations with buckets of blocks to play with. There are no height restrictions on rides but you'll want to be careful if your little one tends to put everything in their mouth. My son is 2.5 and he loved every minute that we were there and being a Lego fan myself, I enjoyed it just as much as he did.
The $18 admission fee per person might be a turnoff but here are some ways to help you save and spread your dollar:
1. Buy your tickets online for up to 25% savings
2. Avoid peak times since this place gets crowded by visiting their website for recommended times
3. Check out every exhibit/station and participate in each activity with your child
4. Make use of the free admission for children age 2 and under
5. Have only one parent attend since admission is priced per person
Ironically, you can't buy a slice of deep dish pizza in downtown Chicago. That was the case up until recently when Pizano's on Madison and Michigan saw the need as well and made a separate section for those on the go. With the amount of foot traffic around Millennium Park, it's a surprise no one thought of this sooner.
I don't know the full story but it sounds like Pizano's is the love child of the great Chicago Uno's and Lou Malnati's. Once you take a bite, you can taste the family heritage. To me, I enjoyed it better since the crust wasn't soggy like at Lou Malnati's. The pizza itself is a miniature whole pizza pie with crust all around (about 6" diameter) which is awesome if you love a bit of crust in each bite. You can get a slice of thin or deep dish pizza all the way up until 10pm.
$8 is a small price to pay for Chicago deep dish pizza but for the location and not having to wait 30 minutes. It's ideal for those who want a quick bite whether you are a tourist walking around Millennium Park or happen to work downtown.
I finally tried Au Cheval's infamous cheeseburger - item #38 on my bucket list is now checked off.
My friend took one for the team and put our names down early enough for us to eat at a reasonable time. Three hours later, we were seated at 9:30pm (yes, expect to wait that long). Here's a tip: get there as early as you can and put your name down. Then, either go home and do laundry, visit a friend you haven't seen in awhile, catch up on some Netflix, or grab several drinks somewhere and wait for your text to know that your seat is now available.
Like Conor McGregor of the UFC, this is the real deal and not just talk. It's deceiving because the appearance and list of ingredients don't do it justice. You don't see a pile of fried onion rings or foie gras or whatever people are putting on burgers these days. It's literally just two patties with American cheese, pickles, and a mayo mixed with Dijon mustard - that's it but somehow it tastes amazing. The main flavor is fat but it's not greasy. The burger is cooked on a griddle where all of the meat juices go right back into the patty in comparison to an open grill. You bite into it and there's a burst of love juices that flow into your mouth and something magical happens afterwards.
Whether it's laced with something or enchanted with David Blaine's evil demon magic, it is definitely an impressive burger that has left me puzzled. I don't know how they do it but yes, it was a phenomenal burger.
West Loop Chicago has real BBQ? You would think it was a joke but Green Street Smoked Meats is legit. After going to Memphis for BBQ annually for the past six years, I can attest that this place is the real thing.
Smoke rings, good bark, and the dry rub were all spot on. Make sure to get the sliced brisket - it's nothing like the brisket that you grew up eating. I guarantee you that this will convert any non-BBQ fan. Who wouldn't like smokey, tender, and succulent meat? Also, get the Frito Pie - it's a bag of Fritos topped with chili made from the burnt ends with nacho cheese and jalapenos. Even if you aren't a fan of BBQ, the outdoor seating and the industrial/southern warehouse interior is the perfect casual place for a drink.
Sure, it's not cheap but it's also the West Loop. You're paying around $12 for half a pound of meat which isn't much. The prices are reasonable considering that you don't waste your money on ordering sides since they're nothing spectacular. I'll easily pass on paying $5 on pickles and broccoli and use that money towards delicious smoked meat instead.